BitTorrent is a complex topic. As a technology, it’s perfectly legal. But what you do with it could be illegal.
Before we dive into the legalities of torrenting, let’s do a quick recap of what BitTorrent is and how it works. Fundamentally, BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing network and protocol. But what does that mean? Well, normally when you download a file, you’re pulling all the bits from one server. If that server has limited bandwidth, the number of people downloading might be quite limited.
BitTorrent splits that up. Files on the BitTorrent network are scattered in pieces among “seeders” (computers that host the full file) and downloaders, so when someone downloads a file, they’re pulling pieces of that file from many different machines. That’s the peer-to-peer component of torrenting. You’re not just pulling from one central server; you’re pulling from other users (peers) on the torrent network.
Why would you do this? For smaller files, torrenting is not important. But for really big files, torrenting helps distribute the load among users. And what are big files? Video. A two-hour HD movie uses up to about 8GB. A TV series could use upwards of 80GB per season of